Spanish Court suspends Catalan law’s articles oriented toward avoiding evictions
The appeal presented in April by Spain’s executive calling for the suspension of some articles of the Catalan law against energy poverty has been accepted by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). In particular, the magistrates have cautionarily suspended 8 articles mainly oriented toward avoiding evictions. According to the TC, the suspension is automatic and therefore the magistrates “couldn’t do anything” but accept the Spanish government’s appeal. The Catalan Government’s Spokeswoman, Neus Munté, stated that this suspension was “to be expected”. The TC’s decision comes two days after thousands of people rallied in Barcelona to protest over the Spanish court’s measures against numerous laws passed by the Catalan Parliament.
Barcelona (CNA).- The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) accepted this Tuesday the appeal presented by Spain’s executive in April which called for the suspension some articles of the Catalan law against energy poverty. In particular, the magistrates have cautionarily suspended 8 articles mainly oriented toward avoiding evictions and facilitating mediations when the families involved are at social risk. According to the TC, the suspension is automatic and therefore the magistrates “couldn’t do anything” but accept the Spanish government’s appeal. The suspension was “to be expected”, assured the Catalan Government’s Spokeswoman, Neus Munté. The TC’s decision comes two days after thousands of people rallied in Barcelona to protest over the Spanish court’s measures against numerous laws passed by the Catalan Parliament.
By accepting the appeal presented by the Spanish executive, the TC put on hold the decisive role that the Catalan law gave to mediation, especially in those cases in which the non-payment of rent or mortgage could lead to evictions. It also postpones the possibility that the Catalan Government could start specific judiciary procedures to resolve matters related to evictions.
The precepts 1,2,3,4 and 9 of Article 5 of Law 24\/2015 have also been cautionarily suspended. This article foresees that those particulars or legal entities who acquired an apartment through foreclosure would have to offer alternatives based on social renting to those families who couldn’t afford to pay the rent before starting any judiciary procedure.
The Spanish executive also took before the court Article 7, which sets out that the administration would be able to proceed to obligatory cession of apartments which have been empty for more than three years and which belong to legal entities or in the case that there was at least one family at social risk in the local area.
A decision “to be expected”
The Catalan Government’s spokeswoman stated that the suspension of these articles by the TC was “to be expected”. In April, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont firmly criticised the decision to partially appeal the Catalan law against energy poverty and accused the Spanish executive of carrying out “political manoeuvring” with subjects which have to do with “dignity”. According to him, the Spanish government was “deliberately leaving in the open many families”. He accused the executive of “pulling the wool” as “energy poverty can hardly be fought if there is no house at all”.
Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau assured that Barcelona’s City Hall “will continue to make the most of its capacities with the skills available” to guarantee the right to housing. Colau, a former activist and president of PAH, the Mortgage Platform which has been fighting to stop house evictions in Spain, criticised the “daring and arrogance” of the Spanish government and emphasised that law 24\/2015 was approved by unanimity, and supported by thousands of signatures and by a great social mobilisation. “The fact that a temporary government would dare to appeal and would try to paralyse a law which was approved with such consensus and which aims to face one of the worse social problems we suffer from, is unspeakable”, she stated.